I might have said a little more than I should. I did not mean to fish for sympathy … I am the least person that needs that.  It wasn’t as if I could not help myself.

Surely, I was in a place that I did not like but I was no different to the hundreds that had to fare the storm. After I’ve pacified my nerves and realized others got the worst end of it, I found myself a little more calm and pensive.  I also recognized that the days leading to September 26 made me more prepared. First I had money – no, I had cash – which was painfully crucial for days to follow. Credit cards or ATMs had no use whatsoever. Second, I was at home and not stranded in the middle of nowhere. Third, I had a handful of candle sticks.

I might have been a walking doom and gloom for the past few days but I’m hoping that better things will continue to follow. There are obviously a lot of things to be said, a lot of people to thank, and much appreciation to those who suffered my temper (without thoroughly allowing the stress get into them) and I will get to that.

Like what I’m suggesting, good things followed soon after. The company did my laundry, while at work I did not have to pay a dime for any meals for two weeks, I was able to cash in my vacation and sick leaves, got my bonus in advance, they offered hotel accommodations (which I did not take advantage of, because heck I still have a house) and yeah did I tell you that they allowed us to charge our phones while electricity was out in our homes?

Relatives also came to clean, people whom I haven’t communicated with for quite sometime also made sure I was okay.

I may still not be changing how I think of the monkey in the palace – wench! I still can’t see where my taxes are going! – but I’ve learned my lesson never never rely on her armada. Would you believe the US marines was doing their job a whole lot better? I am critical only because I care for this country plus I hate her with a fang because of all the shinanigans she passes as work (why do you do the things you do? How bent are you?).

Right now, I’m listing gifts to buy for Christmas and some groceries. I’m also trying not to think of how the city is still so darn dirty.

I’m slowly going back to normal, back to my daily grind, back to the life I want and that makes  me feel better.

Currently listening to I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2 via Launchcast


The Deluge: Day 3

… and the days to follow …

I still don’t understand.  This thought framed my mind in silence. I think this is what they mean of too confused for words.

Yesterday, I made a choice to get up today and continue life as I know it. It may have been a huge slice of rotten garbage but I was not willing to let it beat me … not yet at least. The decision and the right amount of rest and sleep gave me the bravado to step out of the room and assess things – Weigh every broken pieces of it.

Disconnected from the world for two and summat days, I was in need of the daily paper. There was a need to know the chronological order of things and where the world’s at. I also need to charge my cellphone’s battery after it went dead more than 12 hours ago.

But first off, breakfast.

September 28:

6am: When I stuck my head out the terrace, it still smelled of rotten garbage. The city is unbelievably dirty. From broken pieces of homes and from the muck the flood brought with it. The dogs pen needed to be cleaned before we can bring them back to it. They would also need to eat.

8am: I headed to the office. I needed to charge my phone and have the kitchen cook me something decent. Unfortunately, they only had ham and Yakisoba. I bought both and had mom eat the ham and rice. We both took a huge gulp of coffee to set the day right, even though the back of my head kept insisting we were not. Looking back, this is the first time in … hmm, forever? … since I’ve seen the office deserted. No one went to work and the place seemed like a ghost town. Eerie. 

9am: While charging my phone and after printing the Sunday and Monday paper, I headed to the wet market to buy as much provisions as I can. I bought matches, brooms, scrubs and a huge pale most of which are for cleaning.

11:30am: They opened the grocery. By this time it was pandemonium. The city was in dire need of candles and lucky for me I knew the isles like the back of my hand. The moment I got in, it was a literal mad dash to the candles, bleach, canned goods, and so many foods that only indicated that I was in a tizzy. When we got home around 1pm, I spent a total of six thousand just to stock up.

2pm: The cleaning starts. It was time to roll up my sleeves, put my cleaning gloves on, a mask to lessen the stink from being sensed and I was hell bent to clean up. I think the entire city was doing the same thing. By this time, it was difficult to ignore the congealing grime and muck that stuck wherever water reached. From here until the night sets – or up until I realized I’m working under the light of a candle – I  remained unthinking. It was just a mechanical reflex to clean, clean and clean some more.

After days of being tormented, I slept better owing to the fact that I was too damn tired to think. Although I was unable to finish cleaning (I didn’t even come close to half), the following days brought cleaning parties made of relatives and an offer of help from Tito Ramon (Mona’s Dad), whom I haven’t talked nor seen for ages.

It was a slow rise to going back to normal. I may never be the same again after this deluge but I found out that I, like everybody else in the city, is resilient. I may never know how the people who was responsible for opening the dams can justify the deaths and the lose, somehow I know that I made it through.

I just hope the idiot who is sitting in power fester slowly and live a long looooong life of physical pain. She deserves it, just like we deserve to realize that we have a government ran by monkeys because we insist on wishing our lives were like the telenovelas we watch.

The city still stinks.

The Deluge: Day 2

I can bear it yes, but damn it’s too heavy.

I tried to sleep but my trying was futile. I clutched my head in my hands. I tried not to think but heaves of thoughts just kept barraging me. In my head everything spun and twisted, things didn’t make sense. How in the world did a high ground have a raging flood. Water should not have reached me.

I spent the entire night lying down and listening to the street that has become a river. I recalled the ghastly scene that ate half of my house; the ridiculous damage. Through it all I felt hungry. I tried looking for something to eat. I have canned foods but the opener is somewhere in the accidental pool that’s my first floor.  Perhaps floating , just like the many things I left. I rummaged through my bag. I have a half eaten bag of chips … I was saved for the meantime. There was a slight self pity creeping in, I was cold, in the dark and eating a stale Chippy – the vision still haunts me. So this is how it feels to be marooned.

I was a citizen defeated.

The hole in my stomach is defined now; I lost things in a matter of hours. Things I hold dear. I still could not understand how the hell I got into this mess. Or better yet, who the blasted got me into this? I was a study in lost. Lost as to where to start, how to process things and how to pick up the pieces of the huge gapping hole in my stomach. The part that kills me is that someone knew this was going to happen. That people will have to fare losing properties and that people will probably die. But no warnings came and worse, no real-time rescue. If the choppers that I’ve constantly heard flying above are meant to save, then their reactive actions are nothing more than a plug to contain a gapping hole.

The morning broke with me feeling tired having to endure a sleepless night; constantly getting up every few minutes to check if the water is creeping up my stairs. I’ll admit, I’m scared. If I had to swim I would but I needed to be aware of it and not be woken up by water slithering in my sheets. One surprise is enough.

Sunday, September 27

5:30am: I took another peak out the window. The streets are still not passable. It smells like shit (no pun intended) and the river/ street is still alive.

6am: I made a decision to stay in bed. I will not bother myself to assess the damages. The feeling of lose was still too strong in my head.

9am: I woke up with my mom moving around the room. She was trying to put some order in the chaos. I was still too tired to care and I think I’m coming down with something. A part of me is still waiting to wake up from this hellish nightmare.

11:30am: I was awoken by a noise outside. Low flying choppers. The stupid government is known to be reactive, what a shitty way of showing that they are doing something. There would not be a need for this if they sent us a decent warning. I’m sure the f****d up President slept well in her dry warm un-flooded palace.

1:30pm: There was no reason not to try. With or without water I need to get up and pick up the pieces. The rain has finally decided to stop and perhaps it’s time for me to start with action. Trouble or no trouble, I am fighting this. I do not expect rescue from anyone else. I can achieve that all by myself. Fight or flight Jean? You made that choice yesterday, so stick with it.

2pm: Fight. I didn’t know that my grip on sanity was that strong. I moved around my second floor arranging things so I can move around freely. The bruises in my arm and legs need not pile up. I wrote down a game plan that included a shopping list for cleaning, food and potable water. I took a mental note of what time I will start my Monday. There was a need to start it strong. Things are coming with clarity now. I achieved to remain. When fear shook me, out came the fighter.

2:30pm: Before the flood I was reading a book. I think it would be smart to pick it up again plus it would also help me relax by veering my thoughts away from the confusion. I went back to bed and started reading. I had to block the feeling of hopelessness and defeat with the one thing I’m good at. But my gnawing hunger is becoming stronger. I can’t remember my last decent meal.

3:00pm: The left over from yesterday’s lunch is still okay. It’s cold and stale but I gave myself no choice. I ate slowly and pondered further on how this whole thing can be remedied. It was bad enough that I was caught in this, now I have to experience going hungry without a cure.

It was bad enough that I was a victim of a gross misconduct but did I have to be a longsuffering victim too? I guess not. Although the flood made so many things in my head out of place, barely understandable and topsy-turvy, I could still see through it. Monday will be different. I’d be well rested – both body and mind – I’ll try to put this whole thing the right side up.

The Deluge

If you knew me, you’d know I love rain. In ratio, I find myself happier when the sky is overcast coupled with a light drizzle, as opposed to sun shiny days. But not today, not when it’s steadily raining for 24 hours and not when they are about to simultaneously open three dams around the city without warning. 

Saturday, September 26 

10am: It’s been raining overnight and the roads are becoming difficult due to the rising water. It’s still up to my ankle but by the looks of it, the downpour will certainly raise it higher. My umbrella is useless. The rain is horizontal and the wind is chaotically confusing everyone. I’m dripping wet by the time I got home. 

1pm: My street is packing a steady current. The water is now shin deep. I’m beginning to get scared. If it continues to rain, the water might soon knock on my door. 

1:30pm: Electricity is kaput. Time to check if I have candle sticks. I am now officially cut off from the world (save of course if I walk to the next door), no radio, mobile phone network acting up and zero news from what the beejesus is happening out there. 

2pm: Unbeknownst to me, they have opened three dams around the city. In a matter of minutes the water seeped into the front and back of the house. I was lying in bed comfortably reading a book when I heard the dogs barking frantically. If it weren’t for them, I would have gone to sleep. From here onwards, I’d be changed. I’d be looking at water differently… fearfully. It was just a split second decision, fight or flight. Seeing that I had a chance to ride this, I chose to fight and picked up the heavy television set to the 2nd floor. A hole started carving inside my stomach, I’m in trouble. 

2:30pm: Water, mud and garbage is moving in fast – this is bad, this is very very bad. I’ve carried most of the appliances to safety but there is still so much to haul. I can’t carry them all, so a choice to let a handful of it go to waste was made. I know that I am damning them forever but I am helpless now. I can’t do anything but watch the water rise. Fear has set in, what if it comes to a point that I’m too late to evacuate. No one told me to. What now? 

5pm: From my terrace I took a peak of my street. Amazing, you can actually go white water rafting except that it had debris (heavy mud, cars, garbage, parts of houses that have been ripped off, stray animals and more).  I’m a fairly good swimmer but the swells of brown, rubble laden raging water will be too much to endure. I’d drown in an instant.

7pm: I’m still hauling appliances to the second floor. I have to keep moving or I’ll start thinking that I’m irrevocably trapped. It’s dark and it’s hard to see but the candles are doing their best. The water is now waist deep. It’s cold and I’ve been shivering for hours. I can still hear the heavy rain banging on my roof, when it will end, I have no idea. It’s dark, slippery and I can’t believe I’ve moved so many things, including the ones that are painfully heavy. I am running on hope that it will stop or I  wake up from this nightmare. But the bottom line is, I could not understand why this is happening. 

9pm: As soon as I’ve accepted that the rain is here to stay, the sooner I realized that I’m doomed. Somehow it helped. I sat on the stairs helplessly watching water gushing in. I saw a movement at the corner of my eyes; the fridge started moving on its own. Everything that’s not bolted down is now floating; even the ones that are as heavy as hell. I was too tired to care but still shaking and feeling defeated. I had no energy to lift anymore but my mind is racing … calculating the many things I’ve lost because some retard failed to send us a warning. I kept chanting in my head that it’s not as bad … Jean it’s not as bad. Somewhere out there people are fighting for their lives and you can bet several lives have been needlessly lost. You just have to stay here and keep sane.  Not as bad, so calm down, I kept telling myself. Yeah I know, not as bad but sure hell’s bad enough. 

It’s still raining and I am having difficulties calming my nerves. I’m all wet, shivering, confused and close to tearing my hair off. 

(To be continued)